Basel Defends Its Top Position as the Most Promising Small City

Like in 2022, Basel once again takes first place among small European cities in the rankings of FDI Intelligence, the Financial Times’ specialist agency for foreign direct investments. This category, which includes cities with an immediate population of 100,000-350,000, highlights the attractiveness of the Basel region for foreign investors. The study takes into account criteria such as economic potential, cost efficiency, accessibility, lifestyle, business friendliness, and population development.

Growth and newcomers in the field of biotechnology continue to be a driving force behind Basel’s FDI performance. It is a key player in Europe’s BioValley, the life sciences cluster that stretches from Basel into neighboring Germany and France. At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the biotechnology company Moderna opened its EU headquarters in the Basel area to boost production of its coronavirus vaccine. According to their own statements, the access to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as the abundance of highly qualified workers were critical for choosing the Basel region. That same year, MindMed, a leading neuropharmaceutical company that develops psychedelic-inspired medicines, entered into a long-term collaboration with the University Hospital Basel, to jointly focus on LSD research.

In addition to life sciences, the IT, software, and business services sectors in particular attract foreign investors to the Basel region, which offers companies a place to grow that is politically and economically healthy, as well as the ability to build reliable connections with business partners, peer companies, researchers, and investors.

Second and third place in the small European cities category were Cork, Ireland, and Reading in Great Britain. You can read more about the awards and how our favorite cities faired in the various categories at